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High Level Spell Scroll Availability

Discussion in 'Icewind Dale 2' started by Proteus_za, Nov 5, 2014.

  1. Proteus_za

    Proteus_za

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    Does anyone offhand know or remember how commonly available high level spell scrolls are?

    I'm planning a new party, and I'm thinking of taking two wizards and a sorcerer instead of two sorcerers and a wizard. Sort of an experimental party. Because I want to play HoF eventually, I will eventually be needing high level scrolls.

    Does HoF make high level scrolls more readily available?

    EDIT: If anyone is curious and would like to offer feedback...

    The party that I'm trying to create is another one of those high AC HoF mode parties. What I'm wanting to experiment with is trying to combine the decoy and the diplomat into one character. A side effect is that this character ends up having less constitution than is usual for a decoy. But then I'm also thinking, does it matter if he can survive 4 hits instead of 2? Also bear in mind that I do not use characters that result in multi classing experience penalties. It feels like I am breaking the rules of the game if I do.

    The other thing that I am thinking is that sometimes I spend so long thinking about high AC characters that I end up not actually playing the game. So, some of the choices regarding my two decoys I know are not optimal. But, I want to test the ideas instead of spending all day thinking about them.

    One of the problems this party is trying to solve is regarding who has to be the diplomat. Typically, the abilities required for being a diplomat result in a character that is physically weak and vulnerable to anything. My idea is to make this character physically weak in terms of strength and constitution, but give them incredibly high AC otherwise. When combined with mirror image and stoneskin, I am hoping he will be alright.

    So, first decoy:
    Deep Gnome Illusionist X
    Paladin 2
    Monk 1
    Rogue 1
    Ranger 1
    Bard 1

    Str 3 -> 5 (up to 13)
    Dex 20 -> 23 (28)
    Con 8
    Int 18 -> 20
    Wis 15 -> 17 (22)
    Chr 14 -> 16

    The arrows show where stat increases will go. The numbers in brackets indicate final values after buffs (but not including tensors transformaton). By my calculations, he can reach 67 AC without Tenser's Transformation active towards the end of HoF mode. Essentially I am trying to combine the unloved party roles (diplomat and decoy) and still end up with a semi useful character. He can buff, debuff (to an extent) and hold agro. The stats he has will pretty much give him any dialog available in the game. He will only put points towards concentration and the dialog skills - no thief skills.

    Why paladin? Because of the Paladin saving throw bonus. He needs a positive charisma modifier in order to function as any kind of diplomat, and so he might as well benefit from it in terms of saving throws. Beside, the warrior levels provide some much needed HP. Note that he is not the merchant of the party. Buying and selling is strictly reserved for the high charisma sorcerer. He simply gets all of the good dialog options.

    2 extra points into intelligence is needed for casting 9th level spells and it also provides more skill points. Also note that will not drink any of the wisdom enhancing potions. 2 extra points into charisma helps with his role as a diplomat.

    With the diplomat and primary decoy taken care of, we have the secondary decoy
    Female Drow Cleric of Bane X
    Monk 1
    Rogue 1

    Stats
    Str 18
    Dex 20 -> 18 (23)
    Con 16 -> 12
    Int 5
    Wis 18 -> 35 (40)
    Chr 5

    The arrows indicate permanent stat changes through quest bonuses, potions and level ups, while the numbers in brackets indicate final stat numbers after buffs and equipments.

    My calculations indicate that she can end up with 62 AC. 10 short of the ideal. Not ideal, but I want a decoy who can actually use their godly high wisdom scores. Seems like such a waste to have this massive score going unused except for AC. Spells like Slow, Prayer and Recitation will help. Still, hopefully she won't need to be in combat all that much.

    Yes, I could decrease strength and up her intelligence enough to give her expertise, which would give her +5 to AC. I might even do that, I just don't want to because again you have this stat of 13 which does nothing for normal difficulty, and only comes into play towards the end of HoF when Expertise is required for those high ACs.

    Other characters:

    Human Druid X/Bane 1/Monk 1/Ranger 1
    Drow Cleric of Ilmater X/Paladin 1/Monk 1
    Human Sorcerer X/Paladin 1/Monk 1
    Drow Transmuter X/Rogue 2/Paladin 1

    The Drow Transmuter will be the thief of the party. Because the diplomat is taken care of, all of the last four characters can have maxed strength and dexterity, maxed casting stat, and then the remainder into constitution.

    The Druid will put points into strength, not sure about the rest. Probably their casting stats. But I might have another character also put level points into strength.

    I could change the Drow Cleric of Ilmater into a human I suppose. Another option is to switch the secondary decoy from a Drow Cleric to a Human Druid. It would result in a net loss of 1 AC though. I'd gain the ability to cast iron skins, but that does not last very long. I might even lose Divine Shell. The character could shapeshift I suppose. I know that shapeshifting causes most buffs to be lost except for the monk bonus to AC.

    It also means that all characters have evasion and all characters have the dexterity to use it. I consider evasion to be better than spell resistance. I tested this recently - I built two high level characters, both with spell resistance (ie Drow). One had evasion, one did not. They were bombarded by fireballs launched by a human sorcerer of equivalent level, about 5 times. The character with evasion took no damage.

    EDIT: If anyone is interested, I experimented last night and the results were Failure.

    I created the decoy described above, although I realized I had calculated the stat points incorrectly. He has to have a 4 in constitution, not 8. Anyway, I had a saved game in HoF mode right after defeating the Horde Fortress. So, I loaded up that game, removed two of the characters (but keeping their equipment), and added two new characters. The first one was the decoy described above with a 4 constitution. I levelled him up to match the others, which I think was around level 20. I do remember that I gave him 226000 experience, which matched what the others had. Anyway, I put all of his level up stat points into dexterity. With buffs and equipment, but without tensors transformation, his AC got up to 62. Which is respectable I suppose. Anyway he died multiple times in battle with the frost spiders. The problem is he doesn't hit all that often with expertise often (due to his lousy strength score), and, when he does get hit, he dies fast.

    The second experiment was a female drow cleric with 18 intelligence and 18 wisdom. The point of this one was to see if the decoy character, who needs 13 int for expertise, can use that intelligence for taking over the thief skills (which includes knowledge arcana and alchemy). The result - not really. Because none of those are class skills for a cleric, she can't level up that many at once. With a cleric, an intelligence score of 22 would probably be needed to cover all of the thief and mage skills.

    So back to the drawing board. I don't really like the character (not sure why), but I think the best decoy is a Deep Gnome Rogue 2/Paladin 1/Illusionist X.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2014
  2. coineineagh

    coineineagh I wish for a horde to overrun my enemies Resourceful Adored Veteran

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    You bring a unit into HoF with 3STR and 8CON, and you wonder why he gets killed?

    Not to sound too dismissive, but why are you so focused on combining Paladin and Illusionist? Role-playing considerations? Because there is no class-, skill-, stat- or weapon-synergy whatsoever there. Paladin needs STR, CON, WIS and CHA. Illusionist needs DEX and INT.
    :facepalm:

    Maybe I shouldn't be having this discussion anyway. I've always detested the high-AC decoy tactic that so many people chase in HoF: There are only a few options that can be more than an unrealistic, overly-twisted specialist build good for nothing other than being a decoy dependent on short-lasting AC-buff spells that require frequent resting to recast.

    In HoF I've depended on high CON/HP as well as powerful buff spells to augment my attack power. Mirror Images, Stoneskins and summons were helpful on occasion, too. I took damage, I weathered it, and it felt fulfilling not having to game the AC system. They raised monsters' BAB for the purpose of making AC irrelevant, so why is everyone bending over backwards to circumvent it?Summons really draw enemy attention well, so there are just a few occasions where there are difficulties (ambush upon entering map).
     
  3. Proteus_za

    Proteus_za

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    Illusionist is the favoured class of Deep Gnomes. Paladins get a bonus to their strength and wisdom, which ultimately benefits his AC. Oh and it grants him all weapon proficiencies and the ability to use the Holy Avenger.

    I don't care for roleplaying at all and am (mostly) a pure powergamer. The only powergaming things I don't tend to do are evil things such as killing the monks in the monastery. I also don't play with evil characters. Other than that, the sky is the limit.

    With that being said, you have a point in that perhaps I was attempting to rely too much on AC instead of trying my own builds and see how they fare. That was the entire point of this exercise - to try something different and see what happens. The results were poor, but hey, at least now I know. Better than not trying at all.

    Icewind Dale 2 is in some ways a mathematical curiosity to me, which is why I want to find ultimate party builds that cleave through the game effortlessly.
     
  4. Yoshimo's Heart Gems: 13/31
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    I actually think that AC being irrelevant is a common problem in 3e in general. Even in PnP you are much better off by the mid levels to invest in miss chance from spells like blur than AC because AC is far too expensive to keep up to the point of being useful.

    The fact that attack bonuses become so high so easily and AC cannot keep up is a bug because it further boosts casters over non-casters in an edition already very lopsided to the caster"s side (thankfully in video games you don't see it as much due to the limitations of the game engines).
     
  5. coineineagh

    coineineagh I wish for a horde to overrun my enemies Resourceful Adored Veteran

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    Well, from that point of view, it makes sense to try stuff out. And I'm of course gratified that your findings confirm my opinion on the matter. Paladin is actually a clever quest bonus to get hold of, and the monk, ranger and perhaps rogue level are worth it too. I don't know why I get so irritated when people choose TWO levels Paladin to mix in, for that bloody worthless Aura of Courage.
    Quite true for ID2. But I must say that I love the contrast it offers to BG2 and the other Bioware games. BG2 is easiest to tackle with the overpowered melee items, and because there are lots of mages who cast dispel on you. Your own mages end up dicking around with the overly complicated protection spells, while any offensive spells they cast carry high risk of being ineffective due to all the immunities.

    Icewind Dale 2 turns it around, making spellcasters few and far between, while you face hordes of tough melee monsters with saving throw vulnerabilities. Dispel is rarely cast on you, and often resisted when it is. So buff spells are worth casting for a change. Immunities are uncommon, and resistances are limited, so that your offensive spells usually have at least some effect. ID2 is all about the spells, like it or lump it.

    I still love my original party, extensively tweaked over time, but largely unchanged in its core:
    LN Drow Dreadmistress X / Fighter 4 (last 3 Ftr lvls taken late)
    LG Drow Lathanderite X / Paladin 1 / etc (nevermind the late HoF mix in details)
    CE Duergar Barbarian / Fighter 4 (last 3 Ftr lvls taken late)
    NE DG Illusionist X Rogue 2 / Ranger 1 / etc
    LN Human Druid X / Monk 1 / Ranger 1 / etc
    LG Human Sorceress X / Paladin 1 / Monk 1 / Ranger 1
    NE Drow Bard X / Dreadmistress 1

    That's 7 units. The Barbarian didn't cut it due to lack of SPELLS, and was replaced by the Bard. In case anyone didn't know already, this party is described in detail in my IWD2_4dummies...
     
  6. Proteus_za

    Proteus_za

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    I'm considering adding second paladin levels to those that can, for two reasons. The first is immunity to fear, which can be irritating when fighting Sherincal. The second is BAB progression - I saw somewhere that without a second warrior level, a Sorcerer or Wizard will never get more than 3 base attacks per round. A second monk level, or say a fighter level, would accomplish the same thing I suppose. Maybe I should just cast Remove Fear before fighting Sherincal instead?

    EDIT: That reminds me, there are some fear causing effects in Dragons Eye. Oh I also heard that the Aura of Courage actually does nothing.
    I also enjoy the contrast. IWD2 is far more tactical. My problem is that I spend most of my time playing normal difficulty, because I don't finish playthroughs of normal, and so I don't start HoF. I consider HoF to be the real test and more enjoyable than normal.

    I find that sometimes I get stuck in my ways regarding certain characters. I make them the same and give them the same names and portraits. So this time, I am mixing it up a bit. Two of the characters are new, at least to me. I'm always seeking to optimize my party, to be the best it can be.

    Sometimes I wonder what the original IWD2 designers think about the parties and characters that we create here. Or the work that has gone into working out optimal strategies. I mean, I doubt they thought AC72 was even possible, let alone anything higher. I imagine them looking at the figures and thinking, "What the hell?"
     
  7. coineineagh

    coineineagh I wish for a horde to overrun my enemies Resourceful Adored Veteran

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    And I imagine them being disappointed. They set things up to clearly make AC irrelevant, and taking damage a given. Then they see powergamers bending over backwards to make entirely ridiculous builds that chase high AC. Entire strategy guides written for the benefit of this singleminded strategy. Games played around the AC instead of taking the damage fairly. I don't think they'd be impressed by all the cheesy system abusers.

    It reminds me of the kids I teach in the classroom. I try to play fun games with them. They literally spoil their own game by rushing to be the first to cheat the system. Whether it's shouting the answer to the player, or ignoring other rules... I imagine the game designers are about as disappointed at the AC-chasing idiocy displayed too.:(
     
  8. Yoshimo's Heart Gems: 13/31
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    I don't know about that IWD2 came out really early. Early enough that it does not even use a complete version of the 3.0e rules set. Even after going into late 3.5 they still had not "fixed" the AC issue despite it being clear that the designers still thought AC had value at high levels.

    Granted they made 3e overly complicated in this regard as it is significantly harder to determine how effective you want AC to be when most monsters get all attacks at or near full attack bonus and weapon users have a negative scaling set of attacks. How many do you want to have hit at a given AC and are you sure you want the natural attacks to all hit when the weapon users may only get 2 hits? This is one of the reasons why they did not use this concept in any other edition as it is a pain to use and balance in the long run.

    Irrelevant AC is a bug as it punishes non-magic using classes much more at a time when they are already behind the eight ball (high level play already favors spell casters by default especially in 3e). The mage does not care about AC at high level games as they can use spells to give themselves DR, miss chance, or simple spells like mirror image. The fighter or barbarian gets stuck being swarmed by enemies all that hit him easily and there is no way (particularly in this game) to get enough damage to offset that. Essentially they lose one big advantage in the game (good AC) and get nothing in return. This is why long term you are better to not have warrior classes at all (at least single class and even then you are really only after things like divine grace) in this game and in fact you will be best off taking things like more clerics and druids.
     
  9. Proteus_za

    Proteus_za

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    I don't see it that way. Powergaming IWD2 is only spoiling normal mode because it becomes too easy. I think any strategy that succeeds in HoF mode is good, since HoF is very difficult.

    If I wanted to cheat, I could use Dalekeeper or I could mod the game. This is not cheating. This is optimizing your selection of characters so that you can beat HoF mode.

    Let's face it - HoF mode has nothing to do with PnP D&D of any variety. It's straight up cheese. SCS for Baldurs Gate increases difficulty almosty solely through AI. HoF is not smart at all - it is plain brute force difficulty. It is the cheesy variety of difficulty increase with extra sprinkles. That is why I think they would be surprised, not disappointed.

    Put it this way - they setup the rules of the game, and did not think what would happen when certain rules were combined.

    I also think it is amazing that so many people invest so much effort into creating optimal party builds. For me, that is one of the reasons why I love IWD2 so much. I spend weeks thinking of ideal party builds. Ways to combine roles together, ways to improve survivability, ways to improve damage. You may not like or approve of the way I play the game, but hey, I enjoy it. That is all that matters and I would ask you to respect that. I respect how you play IWD2 and I would ask that you extend the same courtesy.

    I know how cheating ruins your enjoyment of a game. After finishing Diablo 2 for the 30th time, I cheated to create the most powerful weapons and armor. I ended up with a sword with +2500% enhanced damage and equipment that would allow a level character to kill Baal. But I got bored of it, because there was no challenge. IWD2 is still challenging and still interesting to me, even if I cannot count how many times I have finished it.

    EDIT: After that, I still wasn't done with Diablo 2, and ended up probably playing it for another 100 hours and even releasing a mod for it.
     
  10. coineineagh

    coineineagh I wish for a horde to overrun my enemies Resourceful Adored Veteran

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    I'm not against powergaming. My problem with chasing Armour Class is that your characters must *sacrifice* power to achieve the AC.

    The builds are gimmicky and flawed; their AC can usually only be maintained for a few rounds, then you need to rest. Their defense is far from perfect, as criticals can still hit, and there are many other ways to take damage. Anything gets through the defense, and the Minmaxed 8 CON makes for a very fragile unit underneath an imperfect defense.

    What I'm trying to say, is that chasing AC is not imaginative or creative; it's rigid, singleminded, inside-the-box thinking. It's disappointing. No offense intended; you are free to try things out. I actually haven't tried gaming the AC system - i was put off by the funkicidal freakshow builds that were presented.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2014
  11. Sir Rechet

    Sir Rechet I speak maths and logic, not stupid Veteran

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    Just to chime in here.. What, exactly, is that you sacrifice to obtain high AC builds? Considering that you do need at least one tank character with emphasis on defense to get a well-rounded party to begin with.

    The illusionist tank variant is the prime example. Who would NOT want a powerhouse that combines rogue, spellsword AND a paladin to wield the all-mighty Holy Avenger? (Powerwise, of course -- roleplay reasons need not apply.)

    Banite tank is another straight up powerhouse all through Normal and HOF modes. The only real difference compared to a battlecleric being that you boost WIS instead of STR, allowing for crowd control options surpassed by none.

    Spell duration IS a valid concern, although I have a feeling you're greatly overexaggerating the piety needed to keep the buffs running. Abstaining from 1 hr/lvl buffs such as Bull's Strength is not a choice in this game - it's called reckless abandonment of totally valid play options. Yes, you'll do fine without them - but you're also NOT playing to the best of your ability, no matter how you slice it.

    Of the buffs that you actually NEED on a regular basis for your tanks in HOF mode, Haste is the one with by far the shortest duration. Yet you can use Golden Heart of <Charname> for a permanent solution for at least one of your tanks, and to be honest - is there ever a reason to enter any non-trivial fight without using Haste? The rest of the buffs are long enough to carry you through entire map sections at once, and you'll be out of Heals/Resurrections/Summons long before that if you lack a high-AC character in HOF mode.
     
  12. Proteus_za

    Proteus_za

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    Sure, its unoriginal. I don't claim to be the inventor of the idea, nor is my "work" groundbreaking. My idea is to combine the decoy and diplomat, that is it. So far, it is working well.

    Is high AC definitely the only way to finish HoF? Definitely not - I have heard of completely non powergaming builds finish it, although I don't know how. A lot of people tend to use summons because they become so much more effective than your own warriors.

    So, what we want to do is create a party that can make it through HoF while subject to the player's preferences. For instance, I do not like multiclassing experience penalties. I also don't really like using bards, because I don't like too much battlefield micromanagement. I don't mind using buffs such as Ghost Armor and Bull's Strength, because they are fairly long duration, but don't want to rely on the bard's song, because it is too short duration.

    I'm not sure why you think "gaming" the AC system in particular should be off limits. You are a powergamer, as you say, and powergaming is about optimizing the way you play the game within its rules. It is respecting the rules according to the letter, and not the spirit. If you follow the spirit of the rules, then you are not a powergamer. So, if you make sure your Dwarven fighter/barbarian has at least 10 intelligence so that you can be sure he knows which side of his axe to swing, then you are not a powergamer. If you give him 3 intelligence because he really does not need it, then you are a powergamer.

    EDIT: Sun Tzu never played Icewind Dale 2 on HoF mode, and if he did, he would probably something like don't overexpose yourself while attacking your enemy.

    So, if you are a powergamer, then why is AC off limits? What is wrong with it? You would be willing to give a fighter an IQ that would make him a vegetable, but not give him an AC that would allow him to survive a cheesy difficulty? Why? What's the difference?

    Regarding such builds being unimaginative and in the box thinking - sure. But who cares? Why do you care what kind of characters I use? I'm not sure why it seems to grate you so much that my party is built the way that it is.

    I don't play IWD2 to be creative. If I wanted creativity, I would write programs, or write a story, or create something. IWD2 is not about creation or creativity - especially not when you have saved Targos about 20 times. Yes, in theory I could try something different and have a a half orc bard/ranger leading his merry pack of bumbling wizards with 13 intelligence each. But that isn't what I want to do. I want to create a powergaming party - and so I have.
     
  13. Paracelsi

    Paracelsi ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    People are always going to be looking for ways to try and one-up the system, and the simple truth is that sometimes they try too hard. Don't let that get you down too much.

    Anyway as far as the high level scrolls question goes you're fine as long as you don't bring along more than 2 wizards. More than that and someone is going to have to skip several of the classics.

    As for the decoy character argument I personally prefer strategy (eg. tactical use of spells like invisibility) + summoning over bringing along a decoy. It's one of the things I like most about IWD2 - someone sure did a good job designing IWD2 spells so that a lot of them were either crazy good at low/mid levels or scaled in some way.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2014
  14. coineineagh

    coineineagh I wish for a horde to overrun my enemies Resourceful Adored Veteran

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    i'm not against using buff spells. i go through normal and HoF modes with standard buffs constantly up: bull's strength, cat's grace, bless. magic circle against evil, etc.
    more powerful buffs are reserved for encounters of a difficulty that warrant them. and i only consider summons on large maps, because they won't follow you to the next.

    there are precious few high AC builds that sacrifice little in power: monk builds (unless missing out on spell book is a sacrifice), and a mage that combines spells and items (perhaps with mix-in levels for the items). perhaps a monk1/clericX focusing on WIS might be viable too.

    what most other builds end up doing, is tanking their STR and CON, because those stats don't help meet requirements for feats, items and spells that benefit AC. but STR & CON happen to be primary combat stats, raising your attack power, concentration and hit points. high AC builds must trade off their offensive ability (and defensive; HP) to gain a bit more AC.

    they almost exclusively rely on short-lasting, powerful spells with generic AC bonuses. and these spells are not utilized for challenging engagements only; they are needed for EVERY encounter if your AC specialist is to be effective.

    most high AC builds are labeled "decoys" because they have limited offensive capability. i feel it's a mistake to chase down the road of imperfect defense, which i reiterate has vulnerabilities that hit a low-CON character hard. maybe the reason why i get so vexed by heavy multiclassing and high-AC chasing, is because i wrote volumes in my guide about these unwise strategic decisions. when people present their gimmicky high-AC "power"gaming units, it's clear they haven't read my guide, or disregarded its content. i'm being awfully petty, but at least i admit it. i'm sure i'm not the only author who wishes his work had had more impact...

    personally, i'm proud of "my" battlecleric tanks. they have the WIS to be able to caat all cleric spells, but focus on CON at level ups instead, giving them plenty of HP. they'll weather the damage, and i'm happy to use the insta-casting Heal spell if needed. their buffs are long-lasting because it depends on caster level, not WIS. in fact, clerical spellbooks have mainly buffs, debuff removers and healing, none of which need maximized WIS. i felt it was creative to recognize this, and divert battlecleric resources into CON instead. for minimal sacrifice. my banite and lathanderite have GSF:Enchantment and GSF:Evocation, respectively, which is enough to safely beat weak-saving-throw mobs; the only viable targets for their few offensive spells.

    on the topic of the unloved decoy/diplomat role, let me describe my drow BardX/Banite1: i assume you hate bards because of their awkward combo of cimbat, casting and songs. i solved it by giving up on combat with mine. i tanked its STR down to 6, but this has given a great deal of advantages. it gets intelligent dialogue options with 14INT, combined with drow's powerful CHA stat maximized. i have been able to allocate most of its feats into spellcasting by giving up on combat, effectively solving its desperate need for feats by scrapping anything melee-related (it does get rapid shot). by veering away from traditional roleplaying expectations, my jack-of-all-trades has actually become my most spellcasting-oriented build. alternating songs with spells is far less awkward, too. if it isn't being specifically buffed up to be a running decoy, i will let it stay in the rear, a position normally occupied by a full mage. but all my other units *are* full spellcasters: 2 clerics, a wizard, a sorcerer and a druid. all the other units will go into melee occasionally, just not the bard! he's the only one without decent STR. roleplayers will scoff at the.way i reversed the roles of the classes, but this form of powergaming meets my own, biased, standards of creativity.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2014
  15. Proteus_za

    Proteus_za

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    I'm most of the way through your guide and will comment on it below.

    You have 3 options for a 72 AC build.

    Option 1 is to have a Deep Gnome Paladin 1/Rogue 2/Illusionist X - as per the JUPP2. Such a character reaches high AC relatively easily without sacrificing too much strength or constitution, so it is actually a very good build. Option 2 is a high wisdom Deep Gnome battlecleric that usually involves an experience penalty of some kind. Option 3 is a compromise - another race without the +4 to AC and using Tenser's transformation when he needs to.

    Having played HoF mode before, I didn't use the short term buffs every single fight. Tenser's transformation is needed to reach the ultimate AC, but it is not needed in every fight. Remember, most enemies in HoF have BABs in the 40's. Few enemies have BABs as high as 52 - Slayer Knights of Xvim are a notable example, but they only appear right at the end. So, I think you overestimate the reliance on short term buffs. Besides, you like to use the Bard's song, which to me is the ultimate short term buff - 3 rounds!

    Yes, I sacrificed the physical attributes of my decoy. That means one out of the 6 characters in my party has compromised attributes, however, he just so happens to be the decoy and the diplomat in one character. I condense two troublesome roles into one character, thus freeing up the other 5 characters to have perfect attributes (18 strength, etc). You also have a compromised character in your bard - the difference is, my compromised character is a frontliner that draws the heat off the others. I plan to make excessive use of Sunfire and Cone of Cold!

    Okay, so I'm reading your guide, and the only problem I have with it is that you have changed the max level to 40 and altered the experience system. To me, that is going outside of the rules of IWD2. You are optimizing your party for a game that is not IWD2, it is something else. Level 40 characters should wipe the floor with HoF mode, since they are 10 levels above even the strongest enemies you are likely to face.

    There is still a lot of wisdom in your guide, it is just that it's applicability is limited because I for one would not feel comfortable playing the game with a modified moncrate.2da and max level 40.

    Besides which, you are using Tactics4IWD2, which gives you +20 to AC and makes potions that permanently enhance stats drop.

    I'm sure that your guide is very good for Tactics4IWD2, but how good would it be for regular IWD2? +20 to AC means your HP actually matters, because even clumsy fighters should be able to hit AC in the low 50's without too much trouble.

    Would your same party work in regular IWD2 without Tactics and without the extra experience and without level 40 and without stat point potions?

    EDIT: On another note, I don't know why everyone puts such stock into spell resistance. Let us say you have a human sorcerer at level 15 and a Drow Wizard at level 13. Your drow's spell resistance is 11 + 13 = 24. But let us say that the human sorcerer has two mix in levels - one monk and one paladin - so his casting level is 13. That means that a d20 roll + 13 must be less than 24 for the spell to be resisted. This means that 11 is the maximum roll in order to resist the spell - only a 55% chance of resisting! For every 2 fireballs, one will singe your Deep Gnome's beard.

    Whereas, I seem to have much more luck with evasion and reflex saving throws. It is easier to keep Cat's Grace on to maximize your reflex saving throw anyway - all of my characters have at least 18 dex, plus they will receive bonuses to saving throws from their buff spells. 3 of them receive at least +5 to all saving throws because of their charisma. At the moment, the DC for my sorcerers fireball would be 20 - 10 natural, plus 3 for spell level, plus 7 for charisma modifier. I'll have to check, but I think even my battleclerics have reflex saving throws of about 10, unbuffed. Each extra point decreases the chances of getting hit by 5%.

    Evasion is FAR more reliable, and every single character in my party will have it!

    EDIT 2: Wow reading the spoilers at the back of your game, you and I are not playing the same game at all. A bow that adds a strength bonus and a +5 returning arrow? Another +1 to wisdom or strength for Iyachtu Xvim? And you also played Icewind Gate 2 with the same party?
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2014
  16. coineineagh

    coineineagh I wish for a horde to overrun my enemies Resourceful Adored Veteran

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    the level 40 ruleset is a welcome expansion to the game system. even with my modified moncrate.2da, i never got beyond level 34 i believe. my moncrate awards a little XP for weak enemies, but not the uniform minimum of 100XP that another altered table added. often 6XP is all you get. it's more the idea that no monster encounters should have zero XP.
    there are abundant ways to gain lots more XP from combat, such as muling, adding characters later, delaying when you click the level-up button, and so on. i used none of them. whether my heavily modded gameplay is honest or representative, is subjective and open to debate.

    i completed the game without tactics, with this party in HoF. Tactics is a later addition to the guide. my party was already formed before i installed it, and builds were not adjusted after installing Tactics. at least, not because of anything it adds. i didnt use any of the stat bonuses from tactics; in fact i dont even know what all the potions are, or where. as for the +20AC and other bonuses in HoF: they never got applied to my team. maybe a coding bug? Tactics makes a lot of the mobs tougher because it applied damage resistance to armours: yours and the enemy's. but i wont deny it is a very different game, sometimes easier. the lost followers were definitely not easier with Tactics alterations and extra damage resistance from armour, though. i even contacted the author to get a fix that undoes an alignment change after the Iyachtu Xvim quest. you can find it included in my guide. on the whole, tactics makes a lot of encounters more challenging, often with extra enemies appearing, but this of course does award more XP from kills.

    i installed pretty much every mod there is for the game, except altered clerics, altered races and a few other mods. i may have forfeit vanilla bragging rights in the process, but i favour additional content over authenticity. my guide also includes instructions for Icewind Gate, and you've probably seen my stickied link-list on the forum page. i dont regret using mods, and the challenge ratibg is largely intact.

    i won't disagree about your comments on SR. in the "best race for sorcerer" thread, i was arguing for humans over drow, because of the limits of SR. and Evasion at Monk1 or Rogue2 is a lifesaver. i'm quite happy with my sorcererX/monk1/paladin1 for taking advantage of high paladin saving throws from DEX+CHA, with monk's evasion on a spellcaster. SR has limits, but it can be worth choosing a Drow/DG if there is little sacrificed. my drow battleclerics weather the frontlines all the better with SR, especially since their reflex save is average at best.

    i chose to mix in monk with my druid for the AC, by the way. evasion is nice, but that AC from WIS will carry over into shapeshift forms, which i thought was a nifty little discovery. monk also synergizes better with druid because they have no armour proficiency, unlike cleric.

    you mentioned the mod bow with STR bonus to damage. it's nice that the bow is 2-handed, because that makes it a 1.5x STR modifier. but slings already have a STR bonus to damage, making them too powerful in the vanilla game. this is the one occasion where i modified a build because of a mod: my LG sorcerer took a ranger level for the bow, and for dual wielding. but i don't hide this fact in the guide; it's made clear that it's for the mod bow, so players know what and why.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2014
  17. Proteus_za

    Proteus_za

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    I used to use a modified moncrate.2da, but I stopped because I don't think the game actually needs it. It is irritating to get no experience for fighting hook horrors, sure, but the game balances itself out anyway. Most people reach around level 16 at the end of normal mode.

    Sure, the item selection in IWD2 is a bit odd. There are no really good bows, and thrown weapons such as slings have an advantage because of the damage bonus. But I don't agree that adding a bow that adds a damage bonus to strength is the right way to fix it. The reason is that then your party becomes dependent upon that item that is not part of IWD2 but requires a mod.

    It just boils down to how you want to play the game. If mods add to your enjoyment of the game, then use them. I use Ease of Use and that DLL fix, and that is about it. I want my party to be the best it can for the base game IWD2.

    Every divine caster class of mine has a monk level for the AC bonus. It is too good to pass up.
     
  18. lefuet Gems: 3/31
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    a little xp per kill doesn't skew the overall xp table (much) but helps motivation.

    what would be a better way of addressing a perceived item scarcity then modding some of those items? Every (powergaming) build is item dependent. (swing from the mast, holy avenger, 2h axes, chain of drakkas, every god ring, ...)

    You are right that it depends on how you want to play the game. :)
    I enjoy playing a monk, but I am unhappy about the iwd2 implementation that leads to weapon wielding monks or reduces them to just 1 level mixins for evasion or AC bonus. And to me that feels not in the spirit of the game. ;)
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2014
  19. Proteus_za

    Proteus_za

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    True, you could mod some of them. But then where does it stop? Suppose I feel that wizards need a nice robe, so I add the Robe of Vecna in.

    I mean, to me, a bow that gets a 1.5 strength damage bonus with a returning arrow +5 sounds ridiculously overpowered. The best returning ammunition for a sling is +1, and that only receives a normal strength bonus. Throwing axes generally have short range, and even those with a +5 enchantment do not add 5 damage.

    Adding damage reduction vastly decreases the difficulty. I know because I have used that component, and you become immune to a lot of blows. It isn't how the game was supposed to work.

    So, although you can, it isn't the way that I would want to play.
     
  20. lefuet Gems: 3/31
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    AC does not work as it was supposed (I assume) to work. Armour is nearly useless. Adding damage reduction is one way to try to 'correct' this. Alas a flawed one. (a.o. the already weak damage reduction of the barbarian is even more marginalized.) I enjoyed it some time but stopped because of to many problems. I would like to have meaningful armour in the game to equip warrior types and not strip them and chase high AC with high Dex or even ignore it ..

    I also added/modded stuff, I felt was missing. It is a fine line to find stuff that is not overpowered. It is easy to add to much and kill the fun. What feels necessary and what overpowered might depend on the player though. :)
     
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